The Hunger Games:.Using Entertainment as a Form of ControlThe Hunger Games is a dystopian look at North America following an unknown apocalyptic event that changed the geography of the world. The country now known as Panem was formed from the remaining population after the event and while the country was forming there was a rebellion. Once the rebellion was crushed and District 13 obliterated, The Hunger Games were founded as a means for control. In The Hunger Games we see using entertainment and the media as a means for control emerge as a main theme.
. “Then came the Dark Days, the uprising of the districts against the Capitol. Twelve were defeated, the thirteenth obliterated.
The Treaty of Treason gave us the new laws to guarantee peace and, as our yearly reminder that the Dark Days must never be repeated, it gave us the Hunger Games.” (Collins p.21) The Hunger Games are a nationally broadcasted event that pits children aged 12-18, from all twelve districts of Panem, against one another in a fight to the death once a year. It starts with the reaping. They take all the kids in the correct age group and select who will be entered into the games. The richest, lower numbered districts have tributes that volunteer after receiving years of training to win the games, the poorer districts’ tributes are usually chosen at random. “The reaping is a good opportunity for the Capitol to keep tabs on the population as well.
Twleve-to eighteen-year-olds are herded into roped areas marked off by ages” (Collins, p.19).The Games are also a reminder of who is in charge.
“Taking the kids from our districts, forcing them to kill one another while we watch – this is the Capitol’s way of reminding us how totally we are at their mercy. How little chance we would stand of surviving another rebellion. Whatever words they use, the real message is clear…
“If you lift a finger, we will destroy every last one of you. Just as we did in District Thirteen,” (Collins, p.22). People are forced to watch the games. The population is forced to watch children fight and die and are helpless to stop it. In The Capitol, the games are entertainment.
Citizens of The Capitol are wealthy and detached from the reality of the games; their children are exempt. For everyone else, especially the poorer districts, the games are far more real. They have to watch their children go into the games, often at a severe disadvantage, and watch as they are murdered on live TV.
It’s a constant reminder of the power The Capitol.In The Hunger Games the population only has one main media source, the television network run by the Capitol (Matos, p. 1). This shapes the people of Panem’s beliefs and reinforces the total control of the Capitol and serves as a constant reminder of the helplessness of the districts (Matos, p. 2). The control exerted by the Capitol is multi-faceted; not only are the people constantly reminded that the Capitol will no ever tolerates anything but total obedience but the media also reinforces how the capitol wants you to view certain people (Butcher & Conrady).
The latter is something Peeta recognizes early on in the book. When he’s talking to Katniss before the games he tells her, “I don’t want them to change me in there. Turn me into some kind of monster that I’m not,” (Collins, p. 141).